by Jane Bahneman
Have you noticed how the response to “How are you?” has changed from, “I’m fine” to “I’m so busy.” It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race — to celebrate our “busy-ness”.
I get it. As a business owner, consultant, and single mom—each moment is vital. Time management is both a skill I am always personally developing and a topic I speak on regularly. I can’t overemphasize the importance of creating and holding “sacred space.”
Sacred space has many meanings. It can be emotional, such as creating and protecting healthy boundaries in all our relationships. It can be energetic in nature, or even time-oriented.
Below is how I create space in my own life.
- Starting my morning with intention and reclaiming my mood.
- Uncluttering my home for clarity and sanity
- Setting and keeping exercise appointments, like my life depends on it (hint: it does)
- Starting the day with intention. I start my day with 30 minutes of reading. Instead of jumping into my daily tasks or wasting time on social media and with e-mails which can sap my energy, I actually schedule this time in my calendar to read. It wasn’t easy to make the time, so I weighed out the options: wake up, hurry through the morning, rush out to work and take the frazzled energy with me all day or, suck it up and wake up early, I choose sanity.I’m not going to lie, it hurt the first few days, but I noticed how much different my mornings and days were unfolding. Nowadays it is a 5:40am alarm set to Dave Matthews/Kenny Chesney “I’m Alive’ ringing through my phone. I smell the sweet bliss of coffee brewing from my auto set as I head down for about 30 minutes of quiet reading before my 5-year old son peeks down the stairs. The difference is unbelievable, as I feel the after-effect in nearly every facet of my day.
- “A cluttered space is a cluttered mind and spirit.” Living right outside of Washington DC, most of us have become accustomed to making more with less, at least in terms of space. I have always been a bit of a neat-nic, but living with a child can make even the most tidy of us yell “Uncle!” In my last move, I downsized even more – and I realized how little stuff we actually need. Less IS more, in many ways. And what you do keep, make sure to organize. When there isn’t any flow in your material space, it is hard to find a regular flow in your energetic space. To help, I brought in a “professional” (i.e. my best friend whose home looks like an HGTV set) and asked her for a fresh look. In less than a day, my home space felt amazing. Whether your home, your car, or your office needs the attention, make the time to do it. Creating Sacred Space in your physical space pays off in more ways than I can count.
Side Note: Yes, doing this with children involved is not easy, but you can also teach them how to respect Sacred Space. Some of you reading this are making all kinds of excuses. I get it, but I promise you this works. Start slowly, as coaching and building new habits takes time. This year when I asked my son what he likes best about his new classroom he told me “It is so tidy, everything has a place it is supposed to go and I really like that.” Adorable!
- Honor your energetic needs. Energy is currency. Making the time to exercise and move my body is the third way that I create and preserve my best self. It allows me to serve all the other people in my life at a higher level. When I consulted and also worked full time, pulling fifty and sixty hour work weeks (or more) missing exercise dates was the biggest source of frustration for me. Each day I didn’t work out, I was less productive, less centered, and less happy. Realizing that, I knew that my workout time was Sacred Space and fitting it in was non-negotiable. To get back into the habit I went easy on myself and committed to 30-minutes a day, no matter what. Yes, was this a far cry from my “typical” 60-minute workout preferences? Absolutely. But things ebb and flow. 30 minutes was realistic at that time in my life. Those sacred 30-minutes made me more productive the other 23.50 hours a day, including the time I spend sleeping more soundly. I write exercise into my planner like any other important meeting and I follow through no matter what.
It isn’t always easy to find the time in our “busy” lives to create Sacred Space.
You may look at your calendar and wonder, “how can I possibly fit anything else in?” The answer might be, you can’t, in which case you need to truly prioritize your perceived priorities. The important thing is to try, start now creating small pockets of sacred space. Once you see the positive impact on your energy, productivity, and happiness, I bet you’ll be hooked.